Abe’s Arboretum Adventure Series – April 12, 2021

Abe’s Arboretum Adventure, 4.12.2021

TEMPERATURE: 50 degrees F
WIND: 8 mph, from the West
BIRD SPECIES: 29 (https://ebird.org/checklist/S85389269)

The dry and warm spells ended this week with lots of rainy and overcast days and much lower temperatures. The rain was welcomed though – the water level at the marsh was getting low (see the difference between today’s picture and the one from last week, 4/5) and the plant life was thirsty.

With lots of rain and intermittent sunlight, the marsh came to life this week. There were new animals out and about, new birds flying in, and others continuing on their journey north, and leaves and plant life showing green for the first time. I had my first beaver out of water sighting this week, the first turtle sighting – painted turtles were lounging on logs and old muskrat dens to catch some rays, and muskrats were swimming happily around. And yesterday, I was almost knocked down by the first bumblebee of the year. The marsh is dominated by buckthorn and honesuckle, which were the first to leaf out this week, but there are other native shrubs and trees in the marsh. The towering cottonwoods of Arboretum Drive have developed flowers and the wood violets just started emerging from the forest floor. I’ll be on the lookout for marsh marigold (a showy, yellow marsh wildflower) from here on out as well.

Finally, my bird comings and goings. I’m partial to the birds, and this week marked a spring migration milestone. The first warbler arrived for the spring, the yellow-rumped warbler. Warblers are the show stoppers for most Wisconsin birders because of their colorful plumage and the sheer diversity of species that come through. Ruby-crowned and golden-crowned kinglets (tiny birds, smaller than a chickadee) joined the crowd along with northern flickers, an osprey and a great egret. The fox sparrows have now moved on and the dark-eyed juncos are likely right behind them. Other new species to the marsh, but necessarily due to migration, were a cooper’s hawk, brown creeper and white-throated sparrow.

There’s so much spring left. It’s a wonderful time of year to be outside.

See you next week,